Four Corners: Will the Colts or Saints tie the Patriots' 16-0 season?

November 25, 2009

Pats can protect turf
Ethan Skolnick, Sun-Sentinel

The Patriots better take this into their own hands Monday night, as I expect they will, with an improving secondary doing just enough to frustrate Drew Brees. Otherwise, it's hard to envision anyone else beating 'dem Saints.

Not Washington. Not Tampa Bay. Not Carolina. Not the way the Falcons are defending the pass, or the Cowboys are struggling to score.

The Colts should have lost already, winning their last four games by a total of 10 points. And while the schedule doesn't appear daunting, they've failed to finish undefeated with better rosters than their current one.

So it shouldn't be surprising if the Jaguars, remarkably still in the playoff chase, trip them up on a Thursday night, two weeks short of perfection.

eskolnick@tribune.com

Odds in Patriots' favor
Dom Amore, Hartford Courant

Can the NFL, the league that puts such a premium on parity, produce three unbeaten teams in a span of three regular seasons? You know what they say: If it sounds too good to be true …

Less than two years after the Patriots went 16-0, we find two teams unbeaten at the three-quarter mark. Let's bow to the odds and admit neither the Saints nor Colts will get there. They're superb teams, no doubt, but it's just too hard. The Colts have been doing a high-wire act for a month, so they're bound to slip up.

The Saints have been winning more convincingly, but they run into the wrong team this week. The Patriots are in sync again on offense and playing better defense. The Saints' division game at Atlanta Dec. 13 will be dangerous too. No, it's just too difficult for an unbeaten team to emerge more than once in a generation.

damore@tribune.com

Colts have best chance
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

There is a reason only one team has gone 16-0 in the history of the NFL - it's not easy. And it won't be as easy for the Colts and Saints as it may appear by looking at their remaining schedules.

The Colts have the best chance, and if you had to bet on one of the two teams, you'd have to bet on them. They have two games left against teams that are over .500, but both the Broncos and Jaguars should be underdogs against the Colts. The team with the best chance of beating them might be the resurgent Titans.

As for the Saints, they will be challenged more consistently with tough games upcoming against the Patriots, Cowboys and Falcons. And regardless of the opponent, it's hard to go 16-0.

dpompei@tribune.com

Lots of luck, fellas
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

We remember the 2007 Patriots as a perfect team, but they almost lost to Baltimore, Philadelphia and the Giants. It takes a ton of luck to go along with talent to accomplish that feat, and I don't think the Colts or Saints will get that far.

First of all, both of those 10-0 teams have all three division opponents remaining on their schedules, and completing an across-the-board division sweep is a tall order. That's an especially hard road for the Colts, because all four teams in the AFC South are playing well.

The Saints have an easier go within their division - although road games at Atlanta and Carolina are no breeze - but they also have the Patriots and Cowboys coming up. Then again, it always seems to be the one you don't expect that reaches up and snuffs out these undefeated seasons, so Dec. 6 vs. Washington may prove troublesome.

sfarmer@tribune.com

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